4 Michigan police officers charged, 1 cleared in attorney general review of misconduct cases

Michigan's Attorney General announced updates for four police officers now facing various misconduct and assault charges linked to behavior while on the job. 

The cases include several instances of misconduct by police caught on camera that was reviewed through the Attorney General's Public Integrity Unit. 

Updates to the charges against the officers, and a fifth investigation that cleared an officer of any wrongdoing were announced in a release Friday.

"It is imperative that those willing to protect and serve do so with utmost integrity," AG Dana Nessel said. "In instances where officers abuse their power and therefore disrespect the badge, our team stands ready to ensure accountability." 

Two of the officers charged stem from the Washtenaw County Sheriff's office, one from the Hartford Police Department, and one from a sheriff's department in an Upper Peninsula county. 

Officers charged in Washtenaw County

Two officers employed by the sheriff's office in Washtenaw County have been charged, one for misconduct in office and another for misconduct and assault and battery.

Cpl. Christopher Ellul was working as a county sheriff correction deputy in August of 2020 at the county jail when he removed an inmate from his cell. Video evidence showed Ellul grabbing an inmate by the neck. A deputy can be heard telling Ellul to stop.

He briefly paused before again placing his hand around the inmate's neck for at least six seconds. 

He was arraigned May 27 on misdemeanor assault and battery, and misconduct in office by a public office, which is a five-year felony. He's scheduled to be in court July 27.

In October of 2018, Kenric Mukrdechian was working an overnight shift at the county jail when he was supervising two female inmates. 

READ MORE: Michigan State Police sued for K9 unit attack

During the course of his shift, he snuck the inmates a pizza before asking them to expose themselves twice. One complied and did so twice. 

He was arraigned on June 3 for misconduct in office by a public official. He's scheduled to appear before a judge on June 24.

Traffic stop in Hartford

Last August, an officer was caught on video removing a male driver from a truck after he was observed speeding and driving erratically. Video also caught the officer, identified as Mathew Mistretta, shoving the man into the side of his truck to handcuff him before slamming him onto the hood of his patrol car. 

After that, he was taken to the ground and knelt on "in a similar manner to the George Floyd murder." according to the AG's press release.

"At no point during the arrest was the man resisting or obstructing Mistretta, according to video evidence. A passenger in the truck reported hearing the driver tell Mistretta he couldn’t breathe," said the release.

Mistretta was arraigned on May 25 for two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery, and misconduct in office by a public official.

Handcuff removal in Gogebic County

Deputy Scott Voit from Gogebic County ordered an inmate to kneel in order for him to remove his handcuffs in February of 2020. Before the inmate was fully down, the officer thre him into the ground to remove the handcuffs.

Video evidence of the incident shows the inmate not resisting the removal. 

However, an examination of the inmate afterward showed he had abrasions on his wrists, a contusion on his back, and a rib fracture. 

RELATED: Highland Park police detective charged with trafficking fentanyl-laced heroin

Voit was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery and misconduct in office by a public official. 

He's scheduled to be arraigned on June 21.

No charges in deadly shooting in Lansing

No officers were charged in the deadly shooting of Jason Gallegos, who police had originally visited for an accidental discharge of a weapon last May. 

Gallegos had a history of mental illness, which officers learned upon arriving at his home. 

Attempts to negotiate with Gallegos were unsuccessful before he came out holding a long gun and had another handgun in his pants. 

He was ordered to drop his gun as he walked into the middle of the street. Instead, he shot at one officer, hitting him in the lower leg. An investigation later determined he was hit by buckshot from a shotgun, that made 10 holes in his leg.

Officers returned fire, killing Gallegos. 

Michigan State Police reviewed footage from the incident and determined officers were justified in their use of deadly force.